Britain to drift out of EU without reforms: Cameron US trade pact offers UK PM a way to sell Europe

LONDON, Jan 18, (RTRS): Britain will drift out of the European Union and the European project will fail unless the bloc tackles three serious problems it faces, British Prime Minister David Cameron had planned to say in a postponed speech on Friday.
Cameron delayed the long-anticipated address on Europe at the last minute to deal with the hostage crisis in Algeria. Aides said a new date and venue would be announced later.
He had been expected to spell out his plans to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the 27-nation bloc and to promise a rare referendum on any deal he struck. Some politicians said that move could redefine Britain’s role in the world, alienate key allies and determine Cameron’s own political fate.
Cameron had been planning to say that the EU faces three major challenges: the euro zone debt crisis, faltering competitiveness and declining public support, particularly in Britain.
“If we don’t address these challenges, the danger is that Europe will fail and the British people will drift towards the exit,” Cameron had been due to say, according to extracts of his postponed speech released by his office.
“I do not want that to happen. I want the European Union to be a success and I want a relationship between Britain and the EU that keeps us in it.”
But, he intended to say there was growing frustration about the widening gap between the EU and its 500 million citizens and that the status quo was untenable.
Harsh austerity measures imposed in many European states are making the problem worse, Cameron planned to say.
“There is a growing frustration that the EU is seen as something that is done to people rather than acting on their behalf. And this is being intensified by the very solutions required to resolve the economic problems,” he was going to say.
“People are increasingly frustrated that decisions taken further and further away from them mean their living standards are slashed through enforced austerity or their taxes are used to bail out governments on the other side of the continent.”

Cameron, who wants to stay inside the EU, has argued that the upheaval created by the euro zone crisis has given Britain a chance to renegotiate the terms of its membership of the bloc.
There was no mention in the advance extracts of a possible referendum on Britain’s role in Europe.
International allies, business leaders and political rivals have all warned that the debate over Britain’s future in Europe risks isolating London and could pave the way for a British departure from the EU after 40 years.
Momentum for a trade deal between the United States and European Union is a challenge to Britons who say London is better off without Brussels and hands Prime Minister David Cameron a strong argument to resist their pressure.
Cameron planned to outline plans to dilute Britain’s EU membership on Friday in Amsterdam in one of the most anticipated speeches on Europe by a British leader since World War Two.
Later on Thursday, the Conservative prime minister postponed the address because of the hostage crisis at an Algerian natural gas plant where Britons were believed to be among those held. A new date and venue for the speech is to be announced soon.
In any case, diplomats in Brussels and business leaders in the Britain fear Cameron could set off a process that ends with Britain quitting the Union.
Eurosceptics in Britain say the country’s future lies in trade with the dynamic economies of Latin America and Asia, at a time when the euro zone is in recession and British companies are exporting more goods outside the European Union than inside the bloc for the first time since the 1970s.
But expectations are high that Washington and Brussels will announce plans to go ahead with negotiations for an EU-US trade deal later this month, encompassing half the world’s economic output. This means that if Britain were to leave the Union, it would be shut out of a powerful framework for trade, underlining the EU’s leading role in forging such deals on behalf of its members.

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